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Kütahya is to be found in western Turkey's central Anatolian Agean region. Kütahya with it's surrounding counties has a total population of 600 thousand. The famous geographer Strabon showed Kütahya among the small towns of Phrigya. The art of ceramics began in this town with the Frigs and continued with the Romans and Byzantines. Due to wars between the Sekjuk state and the Byzantines Kütahya has changed hands a number of times. In 1233 it fell to the Seljuks for the third time, after being under the rule of the Germiyanoguls, Karamanoguls it became firmly part of the Ottoman state from the time of Ottoman Sultan Murat II (1421-1451). From that date until becoming a republic, it retained it's importance as the centre of the Ottoman State's largest province developing leather, carpet and tilling handicrafts.


Kütahya central province had a population of some 50 thousand in 1950. By 2005, however, this population had reached 150,000. Agricultural products grown around Kütahya include wheat, barley, sugar beet, grapes, sour cherries and cherries. Animal breeding is also well developed (sheep, goats and cattle). Beside the nitrogen and sugar industries the ceramic and porcelain kilns and factories provide the backbone of the town's economy.



Miniature painting was the dominant form of Turkish pictorial art until the eighteenth century. It was influenced by Islamic book illumination in which the art of calligraphy and the miniature existed side by the side. Islamic calligraphy was developed in its religious context as the medium by which the Koran was copied and therefore, became a sacred art. It was both a means of communication and a highly decorative, spiritually-infused art form. During the Ottoman Empire, the art of calligraphy attained its zenith. There is an old maxim which says that the Koran was revealed in Arabia, recited in Egypt and written in Istanbul. While Ottoman calligraphers strived to perfect their art, Ottoman miniaturists also made stylistic inroads into the classical Persian tradition which they had inherited.


In accordance with the Islamic preference for abstract representation, Persian miniature painting is characterized by its strong primary colours, emphasized contours, highly decorative surfaces devoid of tonal nuance, foreshortening and a preference for romanticism. Forms and objects from nature are abstracted to the extent that they take on unreal characteristics-skies are rendered in gold, rocks in pink, clouds in coloured whorls; grass is perfectly sprinkled with symmetrical rows of blossoms. It is a world of pattern and colour in which the human figure is subjected to strict hieratic convention, seemingly subordinate to the profusion of ornamentation.


Although depiction of the human form is not expressly prohibited in the Koran, the Hadiths (traditions and sayings of the Prophet Mohammed) discouraged it. God's creation of man was the ultimate art form, a perfectionism not to be challenged by mortal hands. Hence, any rendering of the human form was highly abstracted and conventionalized. While the human figure was depicted in miniature painting, its distinct absence in monumental art served to discourage idolatrous tendencies, anathema in Islam. Nonetheless, beginning with Fatih Mehmet II and his conquest of Istanbul in 1453, European painters were regularly invited to the Ottoman court in order to paint the Sultan's portrait.


Under the Ottoman Empire, miniature painting acquired a particularly Turkish style. At the court, all artists involved in the production of an illuminated manuscript constituted a workshop, the nakkaşhane, which was under the direction of a single master.






variety of old maps of Turkey and Constantinople



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